The last two weeks were full of visits from several family members from far and near and lots of outings and family gatherings – enough to last for awhile!  A sister from the west coast (Santa Monica) and my mother (from Louisiana) were both here in mother’s pied-a-terre in our small village.  The Berkshire Mass sister and her son made several visits throughout the two weeks.

Culinary report first. 

Tried my hand at two new recipes for my contribution to the big dinner on Tday.  First, the dinner rolls – here is a photo of the dough – rising


and after baking!  (thank goodness!)


These were easier than I had feared – but as it was the first “yeast” bread I had baked in the apt – I was a little concerned about the rising – and especially since I keep the apt fairly chilly (around 60).  But they rose beautifully in the oven.  They were a big hit at the dinner.  Definitely something to do again.

My other contribution was Mincemeat pie.  Not as difficult as it may sound as I used a jar of the original Mincemeat filling from England – so I made the pastry from scratch – which required doing two batches of the pastry – one for the bottom shell and the second for the lattice on top.  (Apparently that’s one of the traditions of Mincemeat pies).  


Here it is cooled and ready to go!  Next time I will make the lattice pieces a bit thinner so that they wont spread so much.

One of the outings was into NYC to hear the Saturday matinee concert of the New York Philharmonic  

A wonderful programme:

Shostakovich:  Piano Quintet in g, op. 57   Click here to view program notes

with Glenn Dicterow, Violin; Lisa Kim, Violin; Cynthia Phelps, Viola; Carter Brey, Cello; and Gerald Robbins, piano. 

Beethoven:  Symphony No. 3, “Eroica”   Click here to hear a sound clip Click here to view program notes

with Lorin Maazel conducting.

Quite a rousing performance of both the Quintet and the symphony – that second movement, which always is stirring, particularly moving in their passioned playing.  Interesting the NYT’s reviewer of Friday night had taken them to task for lackluster playing – definitely NOT the case on Sat afternoon!   (Maybe TDay and jet lag from their Far East tour had finally worn off)

Also finally saw THE QUEEN – and HIGHLY RECOMMEND it – especially if you are a fan of Helen Mirren! (Still haven’t watched the second half of the Last PRIME SUSPECT – just like I haven’t watched the last MORSE or read the last MORSE book )    I was rooting for Meryl Streep to win Best Actress for PHC before I saw this movie – and let me tell you – its one of the most AMAZING performances.  Ms. Mirren deserves the award for her brilliant and subtle (very !) performance.  The film portrays both positions very fairly of the public and the Royal Family  – however, Ms. Mirren had me in the palm of her hand from fairly early in the film.  There is one scene (shot in the highlands at Balmoral ) which was incredible  and not just for the scenery.  (And Michael Sheen is no slouch as Blair).

On another outing, we went to the MORGAN and the GUGGENHEIM – seeing the exhibits of Fragonard drawings and of the Mozart scores at the Morgan in the morning and then the EL GRECO et al Spanish show at the Guggenheim in the afternoon – quite a smorgasbord of art for one day.    HINT – the EL GRECO is huge – don’t do it at the end of a long day.  GORGEOUS Goyas and amazing Picassos as well as quite a few Velazquez.

And now this week – back to more normal routine – except for the countdown to Christmas and Hannukah!  (YIKES)




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